Phase one

The conversation

In 2018 we developed a plan to upgrade Hardware Lane and wanted to hear what you had to say.

Gathering insights

From 28 August to 26 September 2018 we asked the community for feedback through an online survey.

The survey asked community members:

  • how they use Hardware Lane
  • how to minimise impact to businesses in the area during construction
  • what they thought of the draft concept plan.

Who we reached


Visitors to the project page



What we heard

We heard back from the community on four key themes:


There was support for more trees but some questioned the loss of existing trees and the location of new trees in front of businesses.


Some were not in favour of the red bricks being replaced with bluestone, preferring that the red brick character of the laneway be retained.

Pedestrian crossing

It was requested that a pedestrian crossing be installed at Lonsdale Street to create a safer connection between Hardware Lane and Hardware Street.


There was support for catenary or another unique system of lighting along Hardware Lane.


Of the 12 original tree plots between Bourke and Little Bourke streets, 10 trees were unfortunately declining in health and have since been removed.

Council has worked with traders to relocate tree plots where possible to better facilitate outdoor trading requirements.

The installation of a new irrigation system and structural soil will also provide superior growing conditions for a new generation of 14 trees.

Unfortunately, due to regulations associated with underground services, we are not able to plant additional trees in the section between Little Bourke and Lonsdale streets.

The existing red bricks on Hardware Lane were installed 35 years ago and have deteriorated over time, becoming slippery and uneven. The paving requires complete renewal and Council proposed to proceed with the bluestone treatment in accordance with its adopted paving design standards for the central city.

A new signalised pedestrian crossing is currently being installed at Lonsdale Street and will be completed in coming weeks. A pedestrian crossing is also proposed for the Hardware Lane and Little Bourke Street intersection.

It is planned that catenary lighting will be installed at the end as a separate project when works beneath have been completed.

Draft concept design

See the draft design we asked for feedback on in 2018.

See the proposed design

See the 2021 proposed design to provide us with your feedback.

Phase two

The conversation

Hardware Lane is one of Melbourne’s most loved laneway destinations. City of Melbourne is upgrading Hardware Lane (Stage 1 from Bourke Street to Little Bourke Street in 2021, and Stage 2 from Little Bourke Street to Lonsdale Street in 2022) to ensure it continues to be a vibrant, safe and accessible Melbourne laneway into the future.

We invited the public to give feedback on the proposed design, and a landscape plan and street section were provided showing the proposed changes to Hardware Lane, including:

  • Upgrading the current road surface by replacing the red brick with typical feature bluestone paving. This will create defined zones for pedestrians, diners and vehicles while retaining the existing functions of the street during intermittent road closure hours.
  • Installing new catenary lighting to Australian standards (following completion of streetscape works).
  • Planting a new generation of 17 trees in optimal growing conditions which includes structural soil and irrigation. Gleditsia triacanthos is proposed to be consistent with and enhance the current street character. This will be a net gain of two trees.
  • Introducing new bluestone/granite blocks to increase safety and delineate between the private driveway and Hardware Lane.

Gathering insights

From 16 July to 22 August 2021, community feedback on the proposed design was collected primarily through Participate Melbourne where members of the public could find information about the draft design and complete an online survey to share their thoughts. Two pop-up sessions were also planned to take place on Hardware Lane but did not proceed due to the COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria. Instead, additional emails and letters were sent out and the consultation period was extended by one week.

Who we reached


website views


website visitors


surveys completed


email submissions

What we heard

Overall, 29 per cent of participants were very supportive and 38 per cent were supportive.

Respondents were asked to explain why they supported or opposed the design, and if there was anything else they felt should be considered to make Hardware Lane look, function and feel even better.

From these open questions, multiple topics were raised repeatedly by respondents, and four key themes emerged.

  • Paving: More people wanted the iconic red brick paving to stay rather than change to the more common bluestone, arguing the red brick was a key part of Hardware Lane’s unique character. Those who favoured the shift to bluestone felt that this was ‘quintessentially Melbourne’ and that it would help reinvigorate the laneway.
  • Plants: People welcomed more trees and greenery in Hardware Lane, calling for a versatile mix of trees and shrubs to be part of the design.
  • Lighting: People wanted lighting to enhance both the safety and ambience of the area, suggesting features like heritage style lamps and down-lighting to avoid glare.
  • Pedestrians: People were pleased to see pedestrians given priority over cars and Hardware Lane becoming a more functional space for people on foot.

Next steps

We value the feedback given to us by the community, and will be using this to inform the next stages of the project. Please follow this page to receive updates.

Hardware Lane Streetscape Upgrade